By Ciara LaVelle
By Jose D. Duran
By Kat Bein
By Juan Barquin
By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
The Four Seasons: "Guerra de la Paz," the artistic duo Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz, assemble a natural world that is homely and fabulous at the same time. In their works of sculpture and installation, composed of discarded clothing gathered from rag shops near their studio in Miami's Little Haiti, the two achieve a plasticity with their materials comparable to the lushness and nuance of oil paint. Keen observers of natural phenomena, they begin their inquiry with recognizable forms but quickly leap to broader, iconic images of nature. With the giddiness of window dressers and the deftness of seamstresses, Guerra de la Paz transform the detritus of American closets and their once fashionable, or at least functional, garments into art and theater. -- Michelle Weinberg Through December 5. Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood; 954-921-3274, www.artandculturecenter.org.
Grass, Gas, or Ass: The title of Los Angeles artist Daniel Newman's first Miami solo exhibition is taken from the bumper sticker: "Grass, Gas, or Ass...Nobody rides for free!" Newman's show reflects upon many of the unsuccessful attempts by members of his generation to co-opt Sixties culture while alluding to the dying art of the American road trip. While conceptually strong, the show includes so many seemingly disparate elements that it could be mistaken for a group show. Yet Newman is able to incorporate all these elements into a visually compelling body of work. --Upahar Through November 20. Placemaker Gallery, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami. 305-576-6695.
Monster: Victor Muñiz, a graduate of Miami's New World School of the Arts, has here a winner of a solo show. His black-and-white drawings are detailed, preciously small, and realized in an obsessive kind of way. Muñiz's fertile mind borrows from advertising, pinball-machine aesthetics, bubble gum cards, and black-velvet portraits of the Smurfs. Behind the action you can hear Frank Zappa, Sun Ra, and Captain Beefheart, but also Yma Sumac, Perez Prado, and Hector Lavoe. Don't miss a rectangular storyboard framed against the wall (across from the gallery entrance). It begins and ends with a José Guadalupe Posada motif and involves a phone call and a note reading, "Remember to call about the money." -- Alfredo Triff Through November 20. Leonard Tachmes Gallery, 817 NE 125th St, North Miami; 305-895-1030.
onwords: In a way, graffiti enriched some of our "standard" cultural meanings by simultaneously defacing and embellishing them. All this happened within the periphery of the impoverished modern cityscapes. Now we're far from the 'hood, inside an art gallery. Extremely conscious of this environment, Tao Rey employs the iconic description of these personal hieroglyphics and proceeds to bend it --materially and conceptually. Instead of regular metal sheets displaying your typical "STOP" or "DO NOT ENTER" message, he employs paper panes with an elegant -- though cryptic -- colored calligraphy on them. Meaning is stretched and repositioned. In the end we encounter repositioned, re-manipulated almost-destroyed emblems. Their aesthetic is not devoid of contradiction, but more important, in the process, they've become authentic and original cultural marks. -- Alfredo Triff Through November 30. Placemaker Gallery, 3852 N. Miami Ave. 305-576-6695.
Pixie: Annie Wharton is known for her eye-catching abstract pattern paintings on Mylar and vinyl. Now she has painted Ambrosino Gallery's project room dark silver and proceeded to adhere her synthetic designs to the walls. The installation comes close to familiar forms of the organic world: flowers, cell forms, protein bubble explosions. Syncopated sequences come together and then recede, moving up and down the walls with loose designs, parts coming off near the gallery floor. Clusters swell over the four walls asymmetrically, as if in some kind of invasion. There's less order and more chaos, but it's an ordered chaos. Abstraction withstanding, Wharton's work now breathes with confidence and maturity. -- Alfredo Triff Through November 24. Ambrosino Gallery, 769 NE 125th St, North Miami; 305-891-5577, www. ambrosinogallery.com.
The Portraits: Ivan Toth Depeña exhibits digital prints that are the product of a steady, undistracted gaze. His subjects are contained and precise, approaching sterility. He exposes an obscure cycle of nature in the midst of a banal suburban parking lot. His lens focuses on this nocturnal micro ecology, no cars visible, and he appears to be conducting some arcane analysis. Technically brilliant, and bracketed by handsome frames, these images are tentative, suggesting vague possibilities that are not clearly defined. -- Michelle Weinberg Through November 20. Ingalls & Associates, 125 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-790-1797.